Image Credit: Red Paddle Co
What Do I Need For Paddle Board Touring?
Stand-up paddle boarding is a fun activity regardless of your prior experience and skill level, but once you progress and become more confident, you might feel ready to start exploring a bit further and attempt your first SUP tour. However, when you’re no longer always paddling somewhere with easy access back to the shore, there are a few more items you need to carry to stay safe.
Although this kit list focuses on SUP touring in the summer, you can bring out the base layers and waterproofs to keep exploring throughout the colder months too.
This is by no means an exhaustive list, but it includes all the essentials that you’ll need for a day of paddling.
Paddle boards come in a variety of shapes and sizes, but touring-orientated boards tend to be long and narrow with a pointed nose. The reason being, that this style of board tracks straighter in the water and glides smoother with fewer strokes than an all-round board. Thanks to the improved efficiency, touring boards preserve energy and allow you to cover longer distances. However, beginner tourers may want to still opt for a wider all-round board because they are easier to balance.
Our SUP packages offer a choice of two paddles, both have a carbon shaft, but you can choose whether you want one with a heavier nylon blade or an upgrade to an ultralight yet still durable carbon blade. The full carbon paddle is the ultimate lightweight option, weighing almost 70g less than the carbon nylon mix. As you’re covering longer distances and spending more time on the water when touring on a paddle board, the all-carbon paddle is ideal because it can reduce fatigue significantly and help you go further.
Head over to our paddle board buying guide to find full details on the different types available and the key features to look out for.
One of the essential pieces of safety equipment for SUP touring is a leash that connects you to an anchor point on the paddle board. The purpose of the leash is to stop your board from drifting away in the event of a fall, which could otherwise leave you vulnerable to the elements, while your board could become a hazard to other water users. So, not only does a SUP leash ensure that you don’t lose your equipment, but it can also save your life.
All of our SUP packages include a coiled leash, which is the ideal style of leash for SUP touring as it stays on the board rather than trailing in the water and causing additional drag.
A personal flotation device or PFD is another vital emergency safety tool for SUP touring. For example, in the unfortunate situation where your leash snaps or your board gets irreversibly damaged, the PFD is your lifesaver.
You can choose from regular buoyancy aids and life jackets or opt for an inflatable PFD that packs down into a waist belt and can be deployed by pulling a handle when needed. Waist belt PFDs offer better mobility and comfort than other PFD options, and, therefore, they are often the number one choice for paddle touring.
Make sure to check whether your chosen PFD has an emergency whistle, and if it doesn’t, you should purchase one separately and always bring it with you on all SUP adventures.
Although inflatable paddle boards are extremely durable and unlikely to get a puncture on the water, it’s better to be safe than sorry and bring your pump and repair kit on longer tours. Both of these are included in our SUP packages.
When you’re participating in any water sport, your gear will inevitably get wet. Bring a big dry bag or a waterproof deck bag to protect your items that need to be kept dry.
Choosing the right footwear for SUP touring is mainly up to your personal preference and the weather conditions. A pair of hiking sandals, hiking shoes or running trainers are all excellent options, especially if you have to do a bit of walking to get to the water. You might want to avoid anything that’s fully waterproof, as they will take much longer to dry on the inside if they get submerged in water due to the waterproof membrane.
Flip flops and sliders aren’t ideal for paddling because they lack support and grip, meaning that you could end up hurting yourself or at least find it more challenging to balance on the board.
If you prefer to paddle barefoot, it’s still beneficial to bring a good pair of lightweight trainers or sandals with you. For example, if the surface of the water bed is quite rocky, it could hurt your feet when you’re pulling your board back on the beach.
Generally speaking, there isn’t one right or wrong outfit choice for SUP touring. As long as you’re wearing weather-appropriate comfortable clothing, you’re good to go. Prioritise breathable and quick-drying materials with UV protection in the summer. On colder days, or if you're planning to swim as well, go for a wetsuit for added warmth and comfort.
The main thing to remember is that the weather can be unpredictable, especially in the UK. So, when you’re going out on the water for several hours, we recommend that you pack waterproofs and a couple of other extra layers depending on the time of year.
Protect yourself from the UV rays with a cap or a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses. The water can magnify the effects of the sun, meaning that paddlers need to be extra careful.
Even the most experienced paddle boarders sometimes accidentally fall in the water, so pack a towel or a towelling robe and thank us later. It can also double as a picnic blanket for lunch breaks on the water bank.
Staying hydrated is the secret to a successful day out, so never sacrifice packing enough water, even if it seems like it adds a large amount of weight to your board. If you’re not a fan of drinking lukewarm water, invest in a cooler or an insulated flask that keeps your drink cold for up to 24 hours. To save weight on longer tours, you might want to consider packing a water filter or a bottle with a built-in filter to ensure that you’ve always got access to safe drinking water.
Sun rays are often stronger near water because they reflect off the surface, meaning that your skin can burn quicker than usual. Pack a little bottle of water-resistant suncream with a high SPF and re-apply throughout the day to stay protected.
Many bugs, including midges, love humidity and, therefore, you are more than likely to be bothered by them when you’re out on the water. If you want to paddle in peace, spray yourself with some insect repellent before heading out and also bring the bottle with you to top up halfway through the day.
As with any outdoor adventure, it’s best to bring at least a basic first aid kit with you just in case. For water activities, we recommend that you choose a kit that comes in a waterproof pouch or that you pop your existing kit into its own dry bag or sealable plastic bag to guarantee that the contents stay dry.
Make sure to pack plenty of your favourite snacks to sustain high energy levels throughout your SUP tour. Protein bars are an excellent healthy but tasty snack option that will give you a boost without making you feel overly full.
Keep your snacks easily accessible for when you need a little pick-me-up so that you can grab them on the go without having to come to a complete stop.
SUP Touring Kit
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